Feb 7, 2009

Sport - Cricket;Pakistan to host Australia ODI series in UAE

Karachi, Feb 6 (IANS) Pakistan will host Australia in a one-day series from April 24 to May 7 at neutral venues in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the PCB said here Friday.
PCB chairman Ijaz Butt told reporters on his return from Australia that the series has been moved away from Pakistan to offshore venues - Abu Dhabi and Dubai - because of security reasons.
'Pakistan will play the five-match one-day series against Australia in Dubai and Abu Dhabi,' Butt said.
The PCB chief said the decision was taken after the Aussies raised security concerns about touring Pakistan.
According to the schedule, the first two matches will be played in Dubai followed by the next three ODIs in Abu Dhabi. The two teams will then return to Dubai for the Twenty20 international.
Butt also revealed that Pakistan may be forced to play a home Test series against Australia in England because of security reasons.
'If Australia do not play the Tests in Pakistan, there is a possibility of playing the Test series in England,' said Butt who added that the PCB has carried out negotiations with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) about hosting its matches in England.
Australia refused to tour Pakistan in 2008 because of safety fears but later agreed to tour the country in 2009 for one-dayers and 2010 for Tests. However, in spite of repeated requests from the PCB, the Aussies declined the invitation to tour Pakistan.
Butt said Cricket Australia has no problems in sending its team to Pakistan but acted on the advise of its government. 'The Australian government believes that since its soldiers are fighting in (neighboring) Afghanistan, their cricketers might be at risk in Pakistan,' said Butt.